Apparently, according to this website.
For anyone who has ever thought Charles Dickens was lurking inside his or her prose, a new website claims it can find your inner author.
The recently launched I Write Like has one simple gimmick: You paste a few paragraphs that exemplify your writing, then click “analyze” and — poof! — you get a badge telling you that you write like Stephen King or Ernest Hemingway or Chuck Palahniuk.
The site’s traffic has soared in recent days and its arrival has lit up the blogosphere. Gawker tried a transcript from one of the leaked Mel Gibson phone calls. The suggested author: Margaret Atwood.
…Though the site might seem the idle dalliance of an English professor on summer break, it was created by Dmitry Chestnykh, a 27-year-old Russian software programmer currently living in Montenegro. Though he speaks English reasonably well, it’s his second language.
“I wanted it to be an educational thing and also to help people write better,” he said.
Chestnykh modeled the site on software for e-mail spam filters. This means that the site’s text analysis is largely keyword based. Even if you write in short, declarative, Hemingwayesque sentences, its your word choice that may determine your comparison.
Most writers will tell you, though, that the most telling signs of influence come from punctuation, rhythm and structure. I Write Like does account for some elements of style by things such as number of words per sentence.
P.G. Wodehouse, huh? It’s an interesting result, and not a bad one. One could do far worse than to score such a comparison.
I got the analysis above after copy a few paragraphs from the (unpublished) novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo a few years ago.
I tried again, with a few paragraphs from a recent blog post and got this:
Curious. And again, not a bad result. I’ve only ever written one or two things that could be considered science fiction, but have never seriously tried my hand at the genre. Still, I could do worse than to be compared to Isaac Asimov.
Of course, I have no idea what to make of any of it. If nothing else, I might have to pick some of Wodehouse’s and Asimov’s work. I’ve never read either author’s work. Now, I think doing so would give me something more to aspire to.